Beloit City Council Approves New Structure For City Governance

The Beloit City Council met in regular session on Tuesday, February 7. Councilor Lee McMillan was absent. Also present was Mayor Tom Naasz, City Administrator Jason Rabe, City Attorney Katie Schroeder and City Clerk Amanda Lomax.

The council approved three ordinances outlining the transition to a new form of city government. Charter Ordinance 15 creates a reduction from an eight-member council to a six-member council. Reductions will be made through the election process as council members reach the end of their term. Four year terms will be rotated among three representatives from each of two wards.

Ordinance 2202 establishes the change from Jason Rabe’s role as city administrator to city manager. Rabe will have more responsibility in terms of day to day operations and city department heads will answer to him directly. Rabe will “manage, direct, control and supervise all the departments and services of the city,” according to the ordinance.

Ordinance 2203 was also approved and creates two wards from the existing four wards. Ward 1 now encompasses all city limits south of Main Street as well as areas east of Mill Street but South of Eighth Street. Ward 2 includes all areas which are west of Mill Street and north of Main Street as well as all areas of the city limits north of Eighth Street. The technical boundaries of the wards are in the street center of those streets listed above.

Tim Jordan was on the agenda to present a proposal to the council regarding a Narcotics Anonymous Mid-America Regional Camping event on the weekend before Independence Day. For the past four years this campout has been held at Clinton Lake near Lawrence. Jordan hopes to attract 150+ campers to Beloit to the event this summer.

This three-day activity would be held in Chautauqua Park. The event will include picnics, family oriented games, guest speakers, evening campfire programs, a dance and more.

Jordan said their board of directors meets on February 18 where they will choose a site for the event. The council gave their approval for Jordan to present the City of Beloit as a potential site to the NA Mid-America Region Board of Directors.

Dr. Robert Severance was on hand to give his annual report on the Chautauqua Isle of Lights.  He extended great appreciation to city crews who assisted in setting-up and taking down the displays.

“Without the help from the city, the Isle of Lights would not exist,” Severance said.

Severance also said multiple repairs were needed on light displays this year with many of them being over 15 years old. The Isle of Lights began in 1999 with 54 displays. The 2016 Isle of Lights featured 240 displays, and there is room for more according to Severance. A total of 11,747 people toured the Isle of Lights this year. Concordia brought the largest number of attendees outside of Beloit while the most out of state visitors came from Nebraska.

The consent agenda was approved including expenditures of $777,731 for the period. Among those expenditures was a total of $237,000 to the State Treasurer’s Office for bond payments.

The Council also voted unanimously to accept Resolution 2017-2 authorizing a waiver of the GAAP Accounting Procedures.

A bid of $27,827 for a three-quarter ton Dodge pickup from Beloit Auto Truck Plaza was approved for the electrical department. A bid of $9,700 for a wire trailer from Brooks Brothers Trailers was also approved.

The council then approved the extension of the interlocal agreement with Community Development Director Heather Hartman, Mitchell County, the Beloit Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of Beloit. The three-year agreement outlines the duties of the director and provides for $250 from the city toward the chamber office’s monthly rent at the Porter House. Mitchell County provides another $250 toward the office space rent as well as one-half mill for operational expenses and Hartman’s salary.

A change order for the East Main project was accepted. Due to a delay in getting gas lines relocated, the project was unable to begin in November last year as initially planned. At that time, it was hoped the project would be completed by Memorial Day. The change order will extend the completion date of the project by nine weeks which would fall into late July.

Councilor Kent Miller was appointed to the Tree Board during the meeting as well.

During the work session, City Manager Jason Rabe updated the council on multiple projects. He presented a draft of a timeline for completion of water facility improvements moving from the planning stages through the expected completion of construction by early 2020.

The Beloit City Council is next scheduled to meet on Tuesday, February 21 at 7 p.m. at the Municipal Building in Beloit.